Parrish two wins away from state title
by W. Brian Hale and Johnathan Bentley
May 18, 2013 | 1129 views | 0 0 comments | 3 3 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Parrish pitcher Grayson Culverson fires a pitch against Fayetteville during the Tornadoes’ opener at the State Softball Tournament in Montgomery on Friday. Culverson threw a six-inning perfect game against the Wolves in a 10-0 win. She also tossed a two-hit shutout in a 4-0 victory over Decatur Heritage. Parrish faces No. 1 Kinston in the winner’s bracket final at 10:30 a.m. today. Photo by Johnathan Bentley
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MONTGOMERY — Parrish is halfway home.

The Tornadoes got a pair of dominating performances from senior pitcher Grayson Culverson on Friday at the State Softball Tournament in Montgomery.

Culverson threw a six-inning perfect game in the opener and allowed just two hits in the nightcap to leave Parrish just two wins away from its first ever state softball championship.

The road to the title won’t be easy.

Parrish takes on top-ranked Kinston in the Class 1A winner’s bracket final today at 10:30 a.m. A win would put the Tornadoes into the championship game, which is set for 5:30 p.m. today.

Parrish coach Chris Harris stated his pride in his squad’s play throughout the opening day and its ability to stay in the winner’s backet of the tournament.

“We’re very happy to be going home and sleeping on two big wins to start of the tournament,” Harris said. “It’s much harder to win the championship when you’re in the loser’s bracket, so for our girls to get these first two victories and get the opportunity to only have to play two more games to win a championship is huge.”

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No. 2 Parrish 10, Fayetteville 0

Eighteen batters came up to bat for the Fayetteville Wolves Friday morning in the State Softball Tournament.

All 18 turned around and went back to the dugout — courtesy of Parrish's Culverson. The Tornadoes' pitcher set the tone for Parrish hopes is a lengthy tournament run with a six-inning perfect game in a 10-0 victory.

Culverson didn't walk a batter and struck out eight in the game.

Parrish's speed gave Fayetteville fits all game. The Wolves made eight errors that led to four runs. The Tornadoes took the lead in the bottom of the first inning. Savannah Jones reached on an infield single, stole two bases and scored on Jamie Beth Hocutt's infield single.

Fayetteville made four errors that led to two Parrish runs in the third inning as the Tornadoes went ahead 3-0. The Tornadoes added three in the fourth and two runs in both the fifth and sixth innings.

Jones was 3 for 4 with three runs to lead Parrish, Hocutt was 2 for 3 with two runs and two RBIs, Makenzie Morgan was 1 for 4 with two RBIs, Maleah Smith was 1 for 2 with a run and an RBI and Ciara Hubbard was 2 for 3 with a run. Nina Tucker and Mary Jo Sanford added hits.

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No. 2 Parrish 4, No. 6 Decatur Heritage 0

Parrish ace Culverson followed up her perfect game in the tournament’s opener with another outstanding showing — giving up only two hits and four walks, while striking out four batters in seven shutout innings as the Tornadoes beat No. 6 Decatur Heritage Eagles, 4-0, to remain a perfect 2-0 and advance to the Class 1A winner’s bracket final. Culverson proved equally as formidable on offense for Parrish, going 3 for 3 with two runs scored to lead the team.

Tayler Winchester also had a great game at the plate, going 2 for 2 with three RBIs, while Baleigh Robertson was 2 for 3 with a run scored. Hubbard was 1 for 3 with a run scored.

With the bases loaded in the top of the second inning, Winchester broke the scoreless deadlock by driving in Culverson, Hubbard and Robertson on a three-run RBI single to give the Tornadoes the 3-0 lead.

Parrish added a final score in the fourth inning when Culverson stole home for the 4-0 advantage.

The Tornadoes open the third round of the tournament with the top-ranked Kinston Bulldogs – who beat No. 4 Ragland and No. 7 Athens to begin the tournament — today at 10:30 a.m.

“We always have played well as the underdog, so I’m going to tell our girls that Kinston has been number one all year long and we’re number two. If we want to be the state champions and be the top team in the state, we’re going to have to go through the number one team,” Harris said.